Triathlon Life of Ted Treise
RACE STORIES, TRIATHLON THINGS, AND THE PEOPLE THAT SUPPORT ME
2016 Long Course National Championships
I have been participating in triathlon since 2012. I decided to take it up a notch to the long course and my first attempt was Legends in June 2016. That race went very well for me and I had high hopes for a solid result at the USAT Long Course National Championship in Miami, last Sunday, November 13, 2016. I wrote on my mirror to “Win nationals” with a check box, told my Mom and Dad of my goals, and put my head down for 5 months. Continues here
I have been participating in Tri-Events since 2012 and have loved every second of it. After growing up and racing motocross; I found triathlon in college. Since graduating in May of 2016, I have became a part of the ever growing multi-sport community in Rochester, MN.
Venture Tri: The Triathlon Life of Ted Treise
This summer I set out with a moonshot plan of having a chance at a pro card. To do this, one must complete 3 races within 8% of the winning pros time at races with more than $8k of prize money, or get top 3 overall AG within 8% of pros time. Easy, right?! (Just kidding) I didn’t do 3 races with prize money this year so a one and done strategy was concocted. I knew it was LONG LONG shot, like shaking hands with the pope longshot, but why not go for it. Justin Bieber said it best with YOLO.
The team was assembled with my Dad and best friend Connor flying into Miami for the race. Having people take time away from their lives and spend it helping me keeps my fire going. In my opinion, the tri journey would suck without remarkable people along the way. From Paul Cregar showing me triathlon freshman year of college, to Nate Dicks for taking the time to listen to me complain about phantom injuries and crafting world class training plans, and to Kate for being a kickass human and giving support every step of the way while dealing with me in beta brain mode. It’s a hell of a team I have. In Miami, the stars aligned and spirits were sky high when we came together ready for battle.
The swim for Miami takes place in Biscayne Bay right in downtown Miami. Looking at the water before hand, one could see the rolling 3 foot waves surging through. Kayakers were murmuring”..We are going to need a bigger Kayak”. Captain Sig on the Northwestern was pulling up pots of King Crab across the bay. The Pequod was sailing past transition looking for Ahab’s Leg. Below is a video of patrol boats overseeing the swim leg.
The 18-24 group was the last wave to take off starting at 8:55 (Pro’s took off 90 minutes prior). We jumped into the 86⁰F water and waited for the horn to sound while bobbing amongst the waves trying to find some real estate between the swimmers.
Once we got going, I went hard trying to get ahead and hopefully find some fast feet. This is always tough in the choppy ocean as everyone is veering in different directions as the waves swirl through the group. Additionally, one thing I struggle with is how do I know if these feet in front of me are fast? Looking at a reliable speed indicator is impossible. I try to find someone that has a consistent kick, doesn’t breast stroke at any point, and has a cool suit with logos on it. They tick all those boxes, fast feet ahead! I found packs at times, but otherwise swam most of the leg solo. One thing to note was getting seasick at the end of the swim. I felt nausea after bobbing in the waves. Maybe this had to do with the small amount of salt water intake, but either way; not a fan. More ocean swim practiced needed!
Once leaving the waters similar to what Deadliest Catch was filmed in, it was bike time. My best friend Jake blessed me with a disc wheel for the race. It was free speed and if you look fast, you race fast. The winds were coming out of the south east around 18 with gust in the 20s. This meant a huge tailwind on the way out, and a twister of a headwind on the way back. Nutrition wise, I had a plan to consume 3 blocks, a granola bar, and 1.5 scoops of yummy Lemon Heed in a couple bottles.
Leaving downtown turned out to be a bit hairy winding through the streets and going through groups of bikers along the way, but once on the highway I put my cruise on around 28 and enjoyed the free ride curtesy of Mr. Wind. I envisioned hammering with the wind like collecting debt; leaving little to spend energy wise will going against the wind. (Mo’ Tailwind speed Mo’ Problems). It was my plan to hammer more into the wind because a higher energy output going into the wind yields more time gained on competitors relative to going with the wind as your % change in time is greater (going 2mph faster at 18 is more than 2 mph faster at 28.).
Like Wild Bill playing without his back against the wall, temptation dragged me in and I got excited going fast with the wind. Once we made the turnaround, I was checked by nature with her headwind. My legs were screaming to keep it above 20mph. Mentally, I was breaking up the bike into landmarks. *Just make it to the aid station, *just make it to the next bridge.* I will survive this headwind. *Just like biking in Mankato.
I consumed my bottles without issue, but the granola bar would not go down. It was like my stomach thought I was on Fear Factor and Joe Rogan just grounded up some centipedes in a blender. I had maybe a 1/4th of the bar. At the end of the bike, my blocks when down easy. But everything was happening quicker than usual on the bike. My balance was off, bumps weren’t being seen, and corners were coming up more rapidly than anticipated.
After getting back into the city and navigating through the packs of riders on the road, I was excited to get the race going again on the run.
My goal for the run was to find a decent pace for the first half by using my HR as a gauge (preferably under 6:45), then try to find a faster pace for the last part (sub 6:20). Nutrition wise, I wanted to drink when I was thirsty, munch on a Clifbar or gel here and there, and use Coke when the lights became dim. After putting my shoes on and getting going, the walls from the bike were still around me. I couldn’t breathe, my eyes were tired, and my shoulders wanted to fall forward, and everyone around me was yelling in Spanish (Oh wait, this is Miami. Nevermind). I knew instantly my halfcocked nutrition plan on the bike had failed and the it was time to pay for my debts. This was frustrating as my legs felt good and were yelling to go faster. I was a prisoner in my own body. After getting to the next aid station I downed a couple cups of Gatorade and dowsed myself in water. The cool guy backwards running hat that made me feel like Lange was quickly removed for a cooler head. Within 5 minutes I was feeling 5x better.
The rest of the run was more survival. Me vs. Florida heat, me vs keeping the lights on, me vs the crowded course. Having my father and Connor cheering made the race. Seeing them instantly shot up energy levels and moral. Finishing without them there would have been nearly impossible. I made sure to shout at them and give a dorky wave at all possible times.
After 13.1 miles, going through the shoot and putting the wrap on the season felt amazing. I left my last race of the season knowing I did everything I could. It took a ton of energy to get here, but it was all worth it. We didn’t get a top 3 spot, but came in 22nd overall with a 3rd in my AG. I was about 10 minutes off getting into that 8% zone and 19 places. Way she goes!
What I learned on this race is the importance of a solid nutrition plan. Going into the race and taking it minute by minute fuel wise may work for some, but not me. I know that I need a quantified plan of what to eat and when. I have a meeting scheduled with a nutritionist and am excited to nail this part down and eliminate the variables. This race was a hell of an effort and felt like there is room to grow with this being my first year of putting in over 500 hours of training. I can feel my body changing every day and growing with the sport. Next summer is going to be fun taking what I learned this year and move forward with it. My goal is to race often, hard and have fun with it.
Again, I am truly thankful for everyone that supports me. My Kiwami kit performed and looked amazing. It made most the pros look homeless and was aero as could be on the bike. Nate’s leadup plan had my body tuned like Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. Additionally, the Hammer Nutrition fuel that I did consume was top notch and I will continue to work with it to mold my needs. Thank you all that supported me this year and I cannot wait to get going for 2018. Race suggestions? Auf Wiedersehen!
In my first triathlon at Iowa’s Best Dam Race back in 2012, I remember showing up to transition and thinking wow, there are some heavy hitters here. This guy has a carbon bike, that guy has clip onshoes, and why on God’s Earth is this woman’s helmet shaped like a she’s going to space. The same can be said about my experience at worlds. When I arrived at the site, my eyes were saucers seeing the pro men and women at the event; how they prepped for the race, putting their transition in a particular order. It was my first race with big names at it couldn’t have been a better experience.
After Madison in June, I took a break from running after tearing some tendons in my upper glute leading up to the race. I was quite butt hurt about not running, and was out of commision until about 6 weeks before worlds thanks to dry needling at Rochester’s ActivePT . Coming back from an injury is always scary when trusting the injury, but I had some major help from Nate Dicks Sports. Like the De Vince he is, I was more than ready when it came to race day at world championships. I cannot stress enough how amazing it was to see my run transform in such a short amount of time under Nate’s guidance.
With the Women’s racing Saturday & Men’s on Sunday, we arrived in Chattanooga Friday afternoon to catch the athlete check in and get my bike dialed in after the always nail biting flying experience. Arriving at the village was crazy. Dorky triathletes in compression socks everywhere talking about past events and watts, I was truly home. On an unrelated note, what are the chances the Ironman store was the entrance and exit to the village for packet pickup. I couldn’t believe it! 😉
With the race being one of the biggest races among the triathlon community of the year, many of the sports top individuals were on site. Dani Vsetecka and I had the privilege of receiving a race preview from none other than Coach Matt Dixon. He spoke about using the current on the swim, not getting wrapped up on the massive climb during the bike, and maintaining form on the run by effort as opposed to pace due to the hills. All great things, all noted, and all made me more anxious to get racing.
After a day of hanging out and cheering for the women, it was finally go time. We got to transition around 6:30 on race morning, set up shop, and were ready for business. I think I spent more time drooling over the pro’s bikes then getting my setup ready.
The swim was a rolling start of 10 racers at a time, leaping from a dock into the Tennessee River with a 3 foot run in. The volunteers held their arms in front of the pending wave of athletes, then once they lifted, we took off! Need for Speed style. The guy next to me lost his goggles on the dive in and was left scrambling in the water trying to find them before the next wave jumped in. Phew, glad it wasn’t me! Once the pack gained uniform, it was fun moving through the current with the rest of the guys bumping, kicking, and elbowing, as we surged through.
The swim course was a giant rectangle with the long end going up stream. With the upriver swim, the community was buzzing beforehand in anticipating how fast the current would be moving against us. In my opinion, aside from being pushed downstream while going across the river, I couldn’t tell there was a current going upstream. I had a killer swim and could not have been happier. This was unexpected as more than half of the sets at masters as of late have been IM stroke work. Something to be said of getting the ‘feel’ of the water? Overall my best leg of the day aside from feeling like a hot tamale in my wetsuit with the higher water temps.
Going into the bike, I really wanted to hammer (in a controlled manner) up the climb and find a smooth rhythm during the latter parts of the bike. After clipping in to my pedals out of transition, I was off! Nothing like the freedom of starting out the bike after the swim looking at bubble, sky , bubbles, sky, bubbles, sky, for 34 minutes
On the first part of the bike, the pros, which started at 7:30, were oncoming while passing through the backend of the course as we were heading out. It was like a front row seat seeing Kanute hammering on the front while the motorcade followed behind caring TV cameras and mechanical support. How nice would that be! After about 2 miles, I finally reached the base of the climb.
The uphill section started out steep and grinding. I thought okay, it will downgrade a bit here, but nope! This climb went up, up and up for the next 5ish miles. The other racers seemed uniformly engage in one pace going up. More people to pass I thought. Jesse Thomas brought up the physics of going relatively faster than others on the uphill that will be more beneficial than going faster on the down hills. Example would be if I was to go 7 MPH on the uphill and you were to go 9, it would be 28%ish faster. An average speed of 39 mph on the downhill, one would need to go 50 mph to make up the same time. I find there is to be a tad more risk going 50mph down a hill compared to 9 up. But that’s just me!
To pass the time on the parts of the bike, sometimes the mind wanders. My thoughts as of late have been directed towards my good friend Mitch Brekke. Mitch was struck by a car on a group ride back in July & has since started making a recovery back to normal life. Dani, Peter, and I were able to bring Mitch along for the ride thanks to these amazing decals. I would look down at the bars, smirk, and try to harness the uber biker that is the Hartland Express. Hammer down on healing up, Mitch!!
My strategy in the hilly part seemed to pay off; I passed a good number of people on the way up with only a few Evil Knievel’s going by on the big downhills. During the latter part of the course, the goal was to keep a steady pace around 150 heart rate thinking to save a big effort for the run. All went to plan, however a mental error on my part cost me big.
I reached the later point of the bike leg where the course narrows into town. A group behind me was putting a big push to the finish so I moved over to let them pass. As I moved over we approached a skinny bridge with some older competitors in the right lane. Next thing I know I’m right up on the group with nowhere to go, then an official, low on coffee or something, motorcycles by and calls me out like a general in the army. “2836! 5 Minute penalty for drafting!”. “aw shucks, gosh darnet, that’s unfortunate, I completely agree with your infraction, kind sir” I replied….
Mentally, I was ready for anything, a flat tire, a yard sale crash on the downhill, but a penalty!? I was crushed. I sat in the penalty tent for what seems an eternity. An older guy that also got one was chatting with me, saying it’s the way things are. I think this guy kept me sane. My own personal headspace guru on the course! After serving my time, it was a few pedal strokes into transition 2, and then off to my favorite activity.
I started out the run furious after the penalty. It was like I couldn’t move my legs fast enough with the energy built up. Remaining calm and sticking to the pace was like negotiating with North Korea. I saw my father and yelled to him about the penalty as I passed, he shrugged and said “oh well” with a smile. After that my mind hit a switch to chill out and go back to plan. I put the cruise on steady around 165HR and ran what the course gave me. Just like the physics of the bike, I kept my pace up on the hills and didn’t push crazy hard to on the down. The first of two laps flew by. I’ve had 3 mile runs last longer mentally. Nothing is more fun than running through the cheering spectators on the course and giving high gives when the opportunity presents its self. I’ll run across the street if it means someone gets a high five. High fives for days.
After the first lap I remember seeing a marker for mile 10 and thought this is where I’ll drop the hammer. I couldn’t wait for mile 10 after that. Believe it or not it finally came. At this point I thought there was enough go juice in the tank after drinking a Gatorade cup every 3 miles and a chewing on a few pretzels ($400 entry fee and no peanut butter for dipping, Ironman?). I started passing more and more people. It felt amazing. Finally the finish came and I saw a CU Boulder kit ahead and sighted laser vision on it to make that my last pass. After my collegiate days, I know that team is huge and well trained. It felt amazing to make that pass in the shoot and cross the finish line for the 2017 World Championships 70.3.
Looking back on the race, I felt like my training going in could not have been better. The swim went as great as it has ever been. During the bike I nailed the nutrition by drinking 2 bottles of HEED, 1 Clif bar and a few blocks. However, I felt like I left something on the table despite the penalty. The lesson I’m taking away is to not get wrapped up in the course hype, and ride it as Ted Treise can ride it and not anyone else’s take, regardless of the number of insta followers. No regrets during the run. I had a blast, pace was amazing, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was an amazing event to be a part of and I hope anyone who has the opportunity to race worlds should take it. (Maybe not Africa, little spendy).
Moving forward through the year, my plan is to A) Make it through Irma, I am writing this at travel hour 28 since I left Nooga. After 4 cancelled flights and no power, I am thrilled to make it home. Then B) My racing season will hopefully include another 70.3. I am still hungry and cannot wait to rev the engines again; not to mention consuming stupid amounts of muffins and peanut butter during training blocks.
Thank you so much for reading this. I could not be where I am today without the support of my folks. Nate Dicks for keeping my body and mind fine-tuned like a McLaren F1. Ask anyone at the top of the sport, dont waste your time and get a coach who knows what they are doing. Also, The amazing company of Kiwami for supplying me with the best kit on the course (Gomez marveled with envy as he biked by).I love my LD1. The suit is beyond comfortable while keeping me cool and aero. Finally Hammer Nutrition for warding away the bonk monsters. It’s been a hell of a season, and I cannot wait for what’s to come.
Finally! I got my Chattanooga spot. We had one chance to get this right with the qualifying cut-off coming up fast in addition to factoring in recovery time it takes from doing these crazy races. I am happy to report I was 1st place in the U24 field, and 16th overall, securing my spot at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, TN. In Madison on race day, the temp was a muggy 80s, the roads kept one on their toes, and the run was deceivingly hard. Let’s hope this race report is nothing less than a steamer.
After Long Course Worlds in Miami, I took some time off to not do triathlon stuff? I traveled to NYC for a week, but mostly this time ended up with me swimming, planning this year, and learning how to make a website from YouTube Videos. What great success on my goal for an off season break from things all tri, eh? Throughout this time, I ran and biked very little.
My lack of movement ended up being my equivalent of the Secret Stairs to Mordor. Assuming I’m Frodo and Shelob the spider is an injury. ANYWAY, what I am getting at is soon after training began I over ran, and my Achilles flared up for about 3 miserable months.
Great start to the season! The road to recovery started with lots of stretching and, oddly enough, ended with Electro Acupuncture. I had about 2 months of solid running going to HIM Madison and was ready to rock thanks to Nate Dicks Sports.
Kate and I motored into Madison the Saturday before, checked into the AirBnB, and were amongst our dorky triathlon kinship in no time. There is nothing like the energy at a race during check in day. I use this time to drool at cool bikes in transition, snag as many free samples as possible, and regrettably walk myself into a tired haze prior to race day. Ops!
After hearing about the swim start, I was confused, a little disappointed, and greatly less nervous all in the same second of emotions.
Madison was a rolling start meaning you self corral next to the flag that has your estimated swim time and then the people gradually flow into the water with the fastest swimmers first. Time wise this is awesome; HIM had about 2,500 participants and had everyone in the water in 1 hours time. USAT Nationals in Omaha has about 2,000 racers, and everyone is in the water around with 2 hours and 45 minutes on the clock. I feel it takes away from the “race” aspect, but I it’s the future of the sport by taking away the hectic swim phobia most first timers have (Myself included).
Long story short, I started in at the end of the 27-30 minute group and in front of the 30-33. The thought process here was my goal time hits just under 30 minutes, I’ve never swam under 30, and I’d rather get passed by a few fish, then Tarzan my way through a school of swimmers. The plan worked out to a T. I had a solid squad of swimmers around me and didn’t run into any major packs nor attacked by any. The swim had about as much in-water contact as a duathlon.
You know those puzzles where you have to connect the dots without lifting your pencil off the paper and you cannot retrace any lines, I feel this bike course had a lot in common with one of those puzzles. During the prior day course recon, we got lost, overwhelmed with the amount of turns, and eventually went home and prayed for cone and helpful volunteers the next day.
After getting out of the water and onto the bike course, I couldn’t have been a happier triathlete. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and my 3 year accrued tax return Blue Triad was flying (thanks 2019!). Our goal for the bike was to go out hard for the first 10 miles with hopes of catching some uber bikers, then attempt to stay within range of those guys assuming they have their power meter cruise control set and won’t be yo-yo’ing pace.
Within the first 60 feet of getting my feet into the shoes, the course rode over some rail road tracks and immediately ejected my between the arms bottle. At the time I thanked the lord as this is an Ironman event and aid stations are about as common as “Worst Parade Ever” Signs at a marathon.
Once the race got rolling, I could see the pack of bikers in front of me. Passing large groups at a time only encouraged using my fresh legs more and more. In triathlon, you must remain 20 meters or something behind the racer in front of you for drafting reasons. This includes passes in which one has 15 seconds to make a pass while remaining 20ish meters behind the next racer. Thus if it’s a large pack, you have the pass the whole train in order to not get dinged with a drafting penalty.
Around mile 25, I positioned myself in a great pack of racers that were pushing an honest pace. I stayed with them for the next 15-20 miles, snagging nutrition as I could, and giving thanks to volunteers. Nothing notable happened until about mile 50 when the road became as smooth as the Oregon Trail. It took an honest line to stay clear of the bigger bumps and potholes. I used this section to jet away from the pack into no man’s land as I was with hoping to gain a mental edge going into the run.
Approaching the safe haven of T2 with a mile or two to go, I was coming down a fast section of the course with a turn at the end. Suddenly the rear wheel locked up sending the bike fishtailing unexpectedly. My prevailing motocross skills took over and I let the bike take her course. Thankfully, I avoided high-siding myself into the pavement and, most importantly, didn’t ruin my new Kiwami Kit and aero helmet.
After finally coming to a stop, I realized my skewer came undone and popped out of the dropouts, jamming the wheel crooked in the seat stays. Luckily I was able to put it back in and limp back to transition with a bent Jet6 Wheel hitting both sides of the seat stay.
My goal going in was to hold around 6:30 until about mile 6-7, then attempt to drop my pace down as the race went on depending how things were going. Nutrition wise I wanted to have some water/ drinkable calories at every aid station, 1 highly caffeinated gel, and maybe banana here and there. Now let’s asses the deltas.
My pit stop on the bike costed about 50 seconds, sending me back into the pack from the bike. The run started with feeling great for the first mile or two, like hulk good. Thoughts were streaming in imagining holding this 6:15 pace with no issues while holding onto the current 2-3 guys that I left transition with. 6:15 per mile, works out to a 1:21 half marathon, “Wo! This could go really well”. But as my good friend Kenny Rogers once said, “…you don’t count your money, until the dealings done”. Sorry Kenny, but I do not know when to fold-em.
Mile 2 hit like a ton of bricks with less optimism. Thoughts of “I am less than 1/6th of the way through this thing, HR cooking around where I sit for tempos, maybe lift off the gas a bit”. For the next four miles I went through cycles of “This pace is sustainable”, then “Hmmm, maybe a bit slower”. During the last 6 miles, I finally landed my pace plane around Let just get to the finish per Mile. This was by far the hardest race ever. Gone were the WOOO’s of the bike, and the encouragement of other racers; just pure survival mode in the hot Wisconsin sun.
After crossing the finish line, I couldn’t be more excited. The announcer said I was the first U24 athlete to come across, thus securing my spot to Worlds. As with any race, my memory was washed of misery that took place ten minutes prior, looking fondly at all the fun over the last 4 hours and 36 minutes. Goodbye 90 minutes of shuffling and hello post- race activities filled with IPA’s and war stories amongst the crew.
Swimming: In the water, I spotted like a bat in mid- day flight. There were many Whoops moments out in the water realizing I was here and buoy was way over there. Moving forward I’ll try to spot more during my trips down the pool lane, increase my open water time, and try to find the feet of fast looking swimmers with expensive wetsuits (Flawless plan).
Bike/Run: The reason why I love the bike so much is the technical aspect. Being last on the brakes and first off is just free speed, but hammering out of the corners and up the hills to catch others is not free speed. It is high risk, high reward, speed that can lead to a blow up. One might look at a race just as Markowitz looks at a well balanced portfolio. For each race one must decide how much risk to wager relative to their performance. Points along the optimal frontier are what we shoot for. By me flying around on the bike course hammering up the hills is like a triple leveraged position in penny stocks; I was bound to blow up. Moving forward, I will stop chasing uber bikers on cool bikes, and race my own race.
Overall: The race was a hell of an experience. I love the energy at Madison and the fans/ volunteers were amazing. Top 10 overall would have been neat, but I’ll take my 16th, Worlds position, celebratory cupcake and cookie dough, and move into the summer. On the day, our crew killed it with Dani Vsectcka continuing her dominating 2017 season with a huge win by taking the Overall Women’s spot, and Mitch Brekke securing a Worlds position while racing every triathlon possible within a 100 mile radius. He’s a machine. My plans until Worlds are to build strength, get more comfortable on my TT bike, and creep on everyone in my age group for worlds via Strava (JK on last one..).
Finally, I cannot stress enough for you slogging through my race report. It helps me reflect on what I’ve done, what I can improve, and scratch a writing itch. Hopefully a straggler or two, besides my folks, reads Venture Tri which makes it all the more fun.
I cannot thank everyone enough who supports my dreams. Nate Dicks for supplying me a plan while raising 2 children, obtaining a PhD in exercise science, and owning a coaching business. TerraLoco for allowing me to represent the greatest running store in Rochester MN, Kiwami for supplying me with the best kit on planet earth, Kate for dealing with me in my post race Delta-Wave-Brain state, and my folks for EVERYTHING. I hit the lottery on having amazing people behind me. THANK YOU.
It winter in Minnesota at 5:00AM. The bad news is, is that the temp is somewhere between zero and negative fifty. The good news is, you’re going swimming. As of last September, I’ve been swimming more yards than previously thought possible with the Orca’s Masters Swim Club. Coach Tom Walsh has taken me from being passed like I was a cone on the highway, to my current status of being passed as a Smart Car. The thorny part of this fish club is the start time. We enter the water at a bright and early 5:30AM start time, which means getting up before 5, which means 10PM is a mythical time on the clock in which no human probably ever sees. Below are my top hacks for making that 5:30 swim time a less zombie like experience.
- Setting the Alarm: When setting the early alarm, it’s important to go sometime before 5, even if your mobile training van is HQ’ed in the pools parking lot. This is a critical step when it comes to swapping notes around the water cooler when friends and co-workers slaving to get to the office by 8:30. Be sure to drop the “..If I’m not up sometime before 5, the day is pretty much shot.”
- Getting up: Nothing quite streamlines the morning process like having to be somewhere at 5:30. This eliminates snooze alarms and sitting on the edge of the bed while watching friend’s unfiltered snap stories from their late night adventures. When that alarm sings, its go time. Hit that alarm like Miyagi Sensei snatching the fly and go for it.
- Coffee: For me, I am a post swim coffee drinker. It’s more like a participant award after the big effort. Thus, 1 minute after my alarm goes off, I am prepping my coffee like a watch maker fixing a Patek Philipe. That way, the moment I stumble through the door post swim, I’ll be hitting Mr. Coffee’s ON button and my happy oasis waits.
- Snack: My morning is all about rewards, so much like the coffee, knowing a quick snack awaits after getting out of bed makes it 10% less worst. Marginal gains here. I like to keep it simple and eat a half tortilla with PB and, if it’s a distance day, whatever Gel’s I can find with the most caffeine.
- Packing: Packing clothes the night before is for rookies. Having nothing packed brings excitement to the morning fire drill of getting to the pool on time. After prepping your coffee and eating some go-fuel, rush to your closet and pack the essentials along with chinos that fit and a decent shirt. Be the Hansel.
- The Drive: No one won anything by listening to Enya. Music is essential. My favorite pump up is anything G-Eazy or Kanye. Maybe you’re a Montel Jordan or Survivor kind of fish. Either way, full commit and start your warm up on the drive to the pool beginning at the vocal cords and those 1:30 splits are yours.
I have been participating in triathlon since 2012. I decided to take it up a notch to the long course and my first attempt was Legends in June 2016. That race when very well for me and I had high hopes for a solid result at the USAT Long Course National Championship in Miami, last Sunday, November 13, 2016. I wrote on my mirror to “Win nationals” with a check box, told my Mom and Dad of my goals, and put my head down for 5 months.
The skeleton plan throughout my training was to put on weight while increasing training volume to around 18 hours at peak. I felt that this would aid in putting power down on the bike without sacrificing my agility for the run. Being 6’2” going from 155 to 165 in five months equated to lots of nut butter and late night grazing sessions. I did feel a little puffed up and bloated but managed to accomplish the great feat. Now that everyone reading this hates me for the battle of weight gain, I can get into the race summary.
Swim 33:47 (1:36/yd)
My best friend, Jake Burbach, a resident of Fort Myers, once told me every fresh body of water in Florida has Gators. This race was A: In Florida & B: Fresh body of water. Great… No worries.
Going into the race, I’ve spent the last 3 months with Rochester Orca’s Master Swim Group which is a dedicated group of athletes who have a unusual fondness of waking up extremely early and grind laps at 5:30 before most people hit the snooze alarm. I have never devoted this much time to swimming in my life.
Before Orcas: “Hey everybody, I swam 10,000 yards this week, WOWZA!”
After Orcas: “This taper period of only 15,000 yards a week feels great”
It was either going to be time and effort well served or a major annoyance of all those 5 AM alarms since swimming can be my Achilles Heel in triathlons.
Long Course Nationals was a run-in start with two laps around the “pond”. I love these races as it increases the amount of running and decreases the amount of swimming. (see below graph of swim to run ratio for your view pleasure). No one in the 2nd pack swim group that I was in had Metallica playing in their head which made for a low contact experience (perfect). I felt great in the water on the first lap, but on the 2nd lap we ran into the Aquabikers. After that, the swim turned into playing frogger, hopping from one pink cap group to the next trying not to be slowed down too much.
I reached my favorite element of solid earth and checked the watch immediately. “33 Minutes” (angry face emoji) I reallly expected something starting with a 2 in the time; however I never felt better leaving the water. Long swim? Too many lappers? More time in the pool? The heat? Probably a strong cocktail of all of the above.
Bike 2:20:48 (23.0 mph)
I don’t know what happened to the swim group in T1, but it felt like I started the bike solo. In the first 5 miles of the bike I had two thoughts; 1.) Holding 22 mph would be easier and 2.) Where are the hills? The groups seemed to spread out quickly. I keep the race interesting by examining the other participants. What kind of bike is that? That kit comes in blue? I wonder what she/he does for a living…. but the groups seemed to spread out quickly.
The only person in sight was a guy with a warning-sticker fresh Cannondale with stock wheels and steel bottle cages. Not much to analyze. For the first 56 miles we passed some trees, a dog, mailboxes, & other various thrilling things that litter the pancake flat Florida country side. (I really like hills). The “predictability” of the course made for easiness of setting the cruise-on for 23 MPH. Thanks to my student loans, not having a watt meter played out as effort was easy to measure by MPH aside from a slight 10 mph headwind on the way back. When the Garmin beeped lap 11, I knew it was time for the meat and potatoes of my race, the run portion.
Run 1:25:55 (6:33/mile)
Getting off the bike and into running shoes is the equivalent to me to de-stressing after a long day at the office. Things were going well at his point; I didn’t get eaten by alligators, no flats or mechanicals, just time for some relaxing R&R with a light 13.1 mile jog with some occasional water stops. My run felt amazing starting out. 6 min/mile’s were clicking off, birds were chirping, this is good I thought. “high elbows, easy breathing, don’t eat too many yummy gels. I got this”. Everything was peachy until about mile 5.
I saw my pace and energy dropping, the legs wanted to stop, Oh great, only 8 something more miles left, No Problem!!.. The ‘oh poop, teeth out’ emoji described my mood very accurately. Luckily, it was a two lap race so at the halfway mark; I put on the Fonzie cool guy face as I passed my cheer squad. This is great, Miserable? ME? Whaaatt?? Nah!! This made mile 6 do-able and deposited some go-energy in the fuel account. The next 6 miles were a blur of pure survival. All I wanted to do was run down as many runners as possible. During these times I think primal. The run is beautiful place of pushing to a point where everything is drained and one is surviving on the same endorphins that kept our pre-historic ancestors alive. I love that part and it feels amazing.
Finally! After a 4hr & 23min of splashing, shifting gears, and shuffling, I reached the finish of the race and the 2016 season with a time of 4:23. I gave my girlfriend and friends the sweatiest hug of their lives and it felt AMAZING. I am the 2016 U24 USA Champion!
My first 70.3 attempt was in June with a time of 4:36. I’ll take the 13 minute improvement in 5 months and I can’t wait until next year. It was a good development time adjusting to training like more of an elite athlete for the first period of my triathlon life. This will lay a great foundation the 2017 season.
Going into 2017, I will seek a more directed training plan and better equipment. From June of this year to date was the first time I have ever had planned workouts in a cycle as opposed to waking up and doing the old How we feeling today Ted? Legs sore? Ez run,yes, ez run.. SOUNDS GOOD! Also, bike-wise I am riding an older, sweat caked Felt that has seen a few too many hours on a trainer. I feel the upgrade of a more high-end bike will help in the never ending chase of marginal gains and will be looking for a good helmet too.
I want to be the best in this sport and will do what it takes to get there in the most efficient manner. I have an amazing support group & love what I do every day. I will work harder and smarter to reach my goals.